Six on Saturday – 25/11/2017


This morning has a flavour of winter about it. Sleet showers and the sunrise getting weird through them. Car didn’t want to start.
Flowers are in short supply now, except for a few that I’ve already used recently. We still haven’t had any frost to speak of so the big move in has proceeded in dribs and drabs so far. Yesterday however, was given over to getting all the potted fuchsias in, getting pots of bedding emptied and generally moving everything around to get it to fit. I have odds and ends flowering in my Camellia tunnel so I thought I’d start with one of those.

Camellia japonica ‘Desire’. As lovely as this bloom may be, I can tell you that for the variety it is not a good specimen. If I were judging it in a show it would win nothing. The downside of these pale formal doubles is that it takes so little damage to really spoil the effect. It should be spring flowering but it’s an early season generally and this plant is in a tunnel so it’s got ahead of itself.

Astelia ‘Red Devil’. I’m slightly surprised that the RHS don’t have this as A. nervosa ‘Red Devil’; I would have thought it was fairly typical of the species except for the reddish colouring. This specimen is growing in full sun; in hotter areas it would probably be happier with some shade. These sorts of evergreens come into their own at this time of year but looking at the picture, the Fuchsia microphylla behind it isn’t for giving up yet.

Taxus baccata ‘Standishii’. I don’t have a record of when this fastigiate yew was planted, it must be about 25 years ago. It isn’t clipped but it does have a couple of loops of wire going around it to stop it splaying apart. ‘Standishii’ is a female clone and it does produce a few berries each year. Seedlings appear round the base of it, some green, most yellow. I don’t keep them. There are several golden fastigiate yew clones and this is one of the brightest yellows and comparatively slow growing.SOS130

Hakonechloa macra. The picture of the yew serves very well to show why the Japanese Hakone grass is my favourite grass. I’m up to nine varieties now. The green leaved species, albeit sporting its autumn colours, is the clump just at the base of the Taxus. The last traces of green are now disappearing from its leaves, which often roll in on themselves at this time of year, then open out flat again. From now until the end of February they will be the brightest thing in the garden. By then they will be falling apart and I will cut them to the ground, taking care not to damage the new shoots that will be pushing through, and within weeks they are back up in fresh green, or striped, or bright yellow. They’ve grown tall this year, with no really dry spells.SOS131

Euphorbia mellifera. I cut this shrubby Euphorbia down every two or three years as it gets too big for where it is and starts to lose its shape. As a consequence it doesn’t flower every year, which I don’t mind, the flowers being pretty dull. The foliage on the other hand, is a fresh apple green all year and always looks a picture of health. When I pruned it a couple of months ago, I cut all the flowering shots near to the ground, leaving 12-18 shots that hadn’t flowered. Now that there has been a big flush of new growth from the base, the shoots I left look out of place, so today I removed them.

Earlier this year we had a porch fitted at the front of the house. For a while it sat empty but with us that was never going to last. It faces south and is mostly glass, so it gets pretty warm, the ideal place to overwinter our pots of succulents that sit outside the front of the house in summer. In practice, we put most of those in the glasshouse and brought out some different ones to adorn the porch. The black drip trays aren’t pretty, perhaps what we need is some tinsel. The pink outside the window is my Camellia ‘Navajo’ still going strong.

And that, fellow gardeners, is it, for another week. Hope you found something there to tickle your fancy. Meme host The Propagator, is an accomplished fancy tickler. He is also the link man for the growing community of six on Saturday contributors, making two very good reasons for going over for a look.

14 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 25/11/2017

  1. Most of my Fuchsias are still happily showing off. My (currently solitary) Camellia is behaving and the buds are nicely swollen but firmly shut. I do notice, though, that there are more of them than at any time in the past. I’ll have to try and identify the variety in the spring – lost the label. You know where I’m leading. 😉 For indoor drip trays I visit ebay and look at melamine serving trays which come in all sorts of designs, shapes, colours and sizes.


  2. It’s hard to look at that camellia & to think, not a good specimen. My sewing room has gone the way of your porch, for the same reasons. Will you be putting in lights w/the tinsel? Great collection this week.


    1. OH has craft room which she can barely get into, with overspill into other rooms too. Decisions on lights/tinsel are not mine to make fortunately, I’m very much the bah humbug type. I do a bit of judging of camellias and I hate having to choose between a superb bloom with a couple of marks on it and a pretty mediocre bloom without a mark on it. As often as not you can see that the former was perfect when cut, but damaged in transit to the show.


      1. I fall in love too easily w/plants to ever be a judge. Regardless of whatever its flaws, it’s makes a beautiful photo. The colour is so rich & I love the way the petals catch the shadows. Gives it an origami sorta look.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m curious to know more about your NINE varieties of hakonechloa grass. They are super aren’t they. How do you make yours send upright as mine flop over like a fringe. When the leaves curl into themselves does it mean they should have been watered? see my Six for mine in a pot which isn’t thriving.


    1. I will try and put together a blog about them. They vary in floppiness, the species, which I put in the six, being the most upright, ‘All Gold’ the most floppy. ‘Aureola’ is in between. Most of mine are in the ground and haven’t been dry, I find that they curl up as if they were dry as the leaves die, but then open out flat again after a few weeks. They then stand looking colourful deep into winter. Having said which my Aureola has only been in a couple of years so most of my experience is with ‘Mediovariegata’, as I have known it forever, which may be the same as ‘Albostriata’, which I have also only had for a couple of years. I need to watch them and document it all. I have two, ‘Beni-kaze’ and ‘Nicolas’, that are supposed to get reddish tints in autumn; nothing this year. They don’t like drying out, not usually a problem in Cornwall, and like bamboos, in a wet season make much taller shoots than in a normal one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A marvellous reply, thankyou. I never realised there were so many varieties. I look forward to a blog all about them. They really do provide interest all the year round, except for those few weeks in early Spring before they come up again. Best wishes, Julie


  4. Morning Jim. Realised this morning that I hadn’t read your Six this week. And a fab Six they are too. My Hack Mac is still small, I think it was a division – they sulk a bit I gather. Hoping for better things next year. Your astelia looks good. Would that work as under-planting, dry shade/partial shade?

    I had to stare pretty hard to find the flaw on that camelia. It’s clearly a harsh business,bloom judging!


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